Archives intern sells Civil War docs on eBay

Rare book seller obtained internship at National Archives, stole items and sold them on eBay.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor

In a shocking violation of the nation's historical artifacts, prosecutors charged an intern with the National Archives with stealing about 165 Civil War documents — including the War Department's announcement of President Lincoln's death — and selling most of them on eBay, according to the Associated Press.

Denning McTague, who runs a Web site that sells rare books, has helped officials recover most the works and plans to plead guilty.

The stolen documents include telegrams concerning troops' weaponry, the Lincoln death announcement sent to soldiers, and a letter from famed Confederate cavalryman James Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart, prosecutors said.

The sale of one of the items on eBay aroused suspicion and led to the investigation, National Archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper said. The office of U.S. Attorney Patrick Meehan said that all but a handful of the items have been recovered.

McTague's job as an intern included arranging and organizing documents in preparation for the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Civil War. As an intern, he may not have had to go through the security checks mandated for volunteers and visiting researchers, Cooper said.

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